By Brad Halasz
Where do you see yourself in five years? Will you have the same job, friends, lifestyle? Chances are you won’t. That is why the longevity of senior trio Holly Harper, Julie Young and Lauren Perry is to be admired.
The veteran Dinos women’s volleyball stars took their final regular season game in stride at the Jack Simpson Gym on Saturday and did so with their trademark dominating style, beating the Simon Fraser University Clan in just over an hour (25-9, 25-18, 25-13).
“To me it’s the most important night of the year because it’s about those girls,” said Dinos head coach Jesse Knight. “To accomplish a five-year career is such a tough thing. The reason it’s so incredible to be a five-year athlete is because of everything you have to endure, and that’s on and off the court, from injuries, to sacrificing.”
The Dinos used the energy of Senior’s Night to maintain a focused but relaxed pace– a game plan that they hope to carry over to the playoffs.
“Our plan was to go out and have fun, we already clinched a second place spot for playoffs,” said Harper. “It was about having a good time, a nice relaxing game right before playoffs before the pressure starts.”
Knight echoed Harper’s comments, adding that the game wasn’t meaningless.
“The direction can only be progressed,” said Knight. “Anytime that you’re stationary, you’re in trouble. It’s about keeping balance, not just going with what they give you. It’s always a new challenge every night to try and read people defensively.”
When the first set ended Harper had five kills, Spence followed with four.
The onslaught didn’t wane as the three seniors were responsible for 21 of the team’s 38 kills on the night.
While the game was a playoff tune-up, it also served as a cathartic outlet for the ending of an era.
The focus of the night was to have fun, but keep the play consistent in preparation for the Canada West quarter-finals. The Dinos face the University of Regina Cougars for a second year in a row in the quarter-finals.
This is the final year Harper, Young and Perry have to add to their legacy. Four consecutive bronze medals in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships is more than enough to constitute a legacy, though Young sees it as a nagging chip on her shoulder. She’s after that illustrious gold.
“Bronze doesn’t cut it for us this year,” said Young. “We have to play to the max, play our best. For the three seniors, it’s do or die now and we have to give everything we got. It’s all about owning the court.”
Harper, too, sees the opportunity to play two more games at home as the real send-off.
“We’re all aware we’re playing Regina and we know they’re going to be a tough team to beat, but we know we can beat them and it’s going to be a really fun weekend,” she said. “It’s going to be a closer game; it’s going to come down to the wire with them.”